Monday, May 6, 2019

May 2019 post

Today I’d like to talk about a passion I have: journaling. 

I've been writing in a journal (diary) since I was a little girl. I liked to put my thoughts on paper, especially when I was angry, sad or happy--in other words when emotional about what was going on in my life.  It was a safe place. I could call it like I saw it without anyone putting in her own two cents.

I'm still doing the same, but with an added twist. I've added art to my words. I've also created many journals on different subjects. No longer a place to vent my emotions, my journals take me on different types of journeys. Let's see, I have journals on:

I mostly cover my backyard and parks with animals, flowers, trees, people, and verbal observations. The one major observation I can share is that when sitting in a natural setting, you become part of the landscape. Amazingly, all sorts of animals and activity occur just by sitting there. As I always tell my students, "Be still and they will come."

From my backyard journal

Wherever I go, so goes my sketchbook. As I have covered in previous blogs, I carry a small sketchbook in order to capture moments with word and drawing. It's amazing how much one can recall a moment in time when sitting on a curb sketching years ago. Suddenly you are back there with the breeze in the air, the children messing about, traffic coming and going, people walking by. I've never experienced that with a photo. As I said, it like your have truly grabbed a timeless moment in your life! That's why I'm addicted to it.

Travel in San Francisco

Okay, I'm a bit of a nut regarding birds. No, I'm not a birder at all. I just love watching and drawing them. My small backyard has nine feeders, two bird baths and a pond. We've been able to attract all sorts of birds and behavior. What a wonderful setting to enjoy these little creatures. Yes, I do have one journal specifically dedicated to birds, which is almost full.

Animals (of course a bird)

I'm not stuck exclusively on birds though. I thoroughly enjoy downloading some photos (from places like Morguefile or Pixabay) and spending time on different animals: lions, tigers, sea turtles, roosters, camels and so on. (I haven't created one dedicated journal to animals in general, but will probably do so this spring or summer).  What's especially fun about journaling animals is that you can find all sorts of information about them in order to add to your enrichment and writing.

Art Journal
I also call this one my ad hoc or visual journal. It's my favorite. I can do whatever I feel like doing. No restrictions or themes. Because I put anything and everything in this book, I am usually restricted to my studio because most of my supplies are there.

With this journal, the sky is the limit. You're not bound by drawing, sketching or writing, you can now use visual objects to tell your story or express your feelings. Here's a short list.
  • paintings (your own are best)
  • collages
  •  magazine cut outs
  •  photos
  • found items: washi tape, stamps, fabric, post cards
  • maps
  • music sheets
  • envelopes for secret messages
  • specialized paper
Unlike the written-only journal where the words matter the most, the art journal takes on a life of its own. Several visual journalers will say they don’t know why they pick a picture or a piece of fabric to express themselves. But once done, they are certain it was the right choice for that day, for that hour, that moment.

Additionally, this journal takes all sorts of media, such as acrylic paint, watercolor, colored pencil, marker, ink, gold leafing and more! Paste a favorite card down and surround it with everything you can find or desire. It's truly art for art's sake--no entering of competitions, no sales, no markets, no galleries. Just a place for you to be truly raw in your creativity.

Emotional Reasons
A few years ago, I was teaching art journaling at St. Vincent's hospital to cancer survivors. Through the help of my own counselor, I had started a "cancer" journal to help me get through the difficulties. I called it My Garden. Here's my first page:

My first ever visual journal page

Wow, I haven't read this page for awhile, but gosh it really sends me back 14 years ago, especially these quotes:
"This is my life's garden. A metaphor for my new life after cancer." 
 And then on the next page,
"Now more than ever, I want to live life at the fullest. ... Now I can greet each day with a sense of adventure!... My garden is filled with hope. I survived on hope and it's given me wings."
As I progressed with each page, then book, I changed, helping me with my "new normal." But what happened in the class was even more phenomenal. I saw women, who was darkly depressed, spring to life as we cut, pasted, wrote, searched for that right paper, photos, paint. Over time, I witnessed people coming to terms with problems (physical, emotional or even spiritually) and most importantly, they were growing.

Since those days at the hospital I've continued to journal--either thematically as described above or through a general art journal. I find a magical life inside my pages. Not only do I continue to learn more about myself, I am finding my creativity has exploded. I'm trying out new media, new avenues, new techniques, even working on eventual paintings. Here are a few examples of my current work--all originating from a blank book:

It is truly amazing what happens when you start to journal either thematically as I've covered above or through a general art journal. Lives change. Yes! You can be creative again and forever.

Here's an interesting trailer clip of the video 1000 Journal. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do. 

What's coming up!

Glastonbury Studios Classes

Just a warning. The students in these classes are 
very liberal-minded, fun-loving women!
Be prepared to laugh, love and live a lot.

New classes begin the week of May 19th. If you want to join us, please contact me:

Art of Sketching  Begins 5/21
Learning to sketch actually improves your drawing skills; besides it’s amazingly fun. We'll be  using pen and ink with watercolor washes. 
People: faces, in motion, about town
Limited supply list
Every Tuesday morning
10 am to 12:30 pm
$80 per five-week term
Seats available

The Morning Draw Begins 5/22
We will be exploring a variety of subjects and drawing techniques. 
Faces: people and animals
Limited supply list.
Every Wednesday morning
10 am to 12:30 pm
$80 per five-week term

Afternoon Art Journaling Begins 5/22
Drawing, painting, collage, writing, mixed media. 
Includes most supplies. 
Every Wednesday afternoon
1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
$80 per five-week term

One-Day Workshops

All of our workshops are held at Glastonbury Studios in Tigard from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., unless otherwise indicated. Workshops include most supplies and lunch. Cost $90 per person, per day. Pre-registration is required. Seats are limited to a minimum of four students.

To learn more about the offerings and dates, go to my website. To register or for more information, contact me at:

Saturday, May 18
Drawing with Colored Pencils

Saturday, June 1
Discover Watercolor Pencil 

Saturday, June 22
Drawing Cats 

Saturday, July 13
Drawing Fun Bugs


Two-Day Workshop
Saturday August 3-4
"Art Journaling from the Heart" 
 Glastonbury Studios in Tigard from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
(includes materials, light breakfast, lunch)
Location: In-studio
Maximum: 10 students


Future Sketch'n on the Go Workshops
Currently I am looking at two locations to travel with students in 2020. (Yes, I do work this far in advance.) One is Japan and the other is Aix en Provence, France. Both places have wonderful sketching opportunities. If you are interested, please let me know. It will help in my decision-making.